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    Alan Turing Alan Turing was an English scientist, mathematician and codebreaker. He is best known for his important role in cracking German codes during the Second World War.

    Early Life Alan was born on 23rd June, 1912 in London. His father, Julius, worked for the Indian Civil Service and his mother, Ethel, was the daughter of the chief engineer of the Madras Railway in southern India. Julius and Ethel spent a lot of time travelling between their homes in Hastings, in England, and India. Because they wanted their children to be raised in Britain, Julius and Ethel decided that Alan and his older brother John would not travel to India with them. Instead, while their parents were in India, the boys would stay with friends of the family in England.

    Childhood Genius From a very early age, it was clear that Alan was very clever. Stories about Alan’s childhood show a boy who enjoyed puzzles and challenges. One story tells that Alan tracked the path of flying bees so that he could find their hive and get honey for his family.

    At the age of 13, Alan joined Sherborne School – a boarding school in the county of Dorset. It was while at Sherborne School that Alan’s excellence in mathematics and science became clear. He was able to solve problems and understand ideas far harder than a child of his age usually could. At only 16 years of age, Alan was able to understand the work of Albert Einstein.

    Bletchley Park Alan was 27 years old at the start of the Second World War, and had been working part time at Bletchley Park. He worked there with the Government Code and Cypher School. Bletchley Park was a stately home at which all codebreakers worked during the war.

    The German army believed that changing their messages into code would stop their enemies from reading them. The Germans used a clever system which involved replacing one letter with another lots of times. By writing

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    Alan Turing

    down what changes had been made, German soldiers could still read the original message, even though what they had received did not appear to make any sense.

    However, a machine called the Enigma had been invented by Polish codebreakers during the First World War. In 1939, the Polish codebreakers shared their machine with British and French codebreakers so that they could learn the Germans’ secrets and outsmart them in the war. The Enigma machine tried to change the Germans’ codes back into the original message that was sent.

    Alan and a team of codebreakers tried to use the Enigma machine to break the German code. Within weeks of starting work at Bletchley Park, Alan had created a new machine called ‘the bombe’. Alan’s machine was far better at cracking codes than the Enigma machine had been. His new machine became one of the most important tools used to read German messages and it played a huge part in ending the Second World War.

    For his services during the war, Alan was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by King George VI in 1946.

    Glossary Albert Einstein: A scientist and philosopher who is credited with making some of the greatest scientific discoveries in recent history.

    boarding school: A school at which the students also live, as well as learn.

    stately home: A large and impressive house that is or was lived in by a

    rich family.

  • Alan Turing

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    Questions 1. Which of these is not a member of Alan Turing’s family? Tick one.

    Ethel Albert Julius John

    2. Number the events below to show the order in which they happened during Alan’s life. The first one has been done for you.

    Alan joined Sherborne School. Alan began to work at Bletchley Park.

    Alan was awarded an OBE for his wartime services. Alan could understand the works of Einstein.

    Alan was born in London.

    3. Where did Alan and his brother stay while his parents were in India?

    4. …had been working part time at Bletchley Park. Explain what you think ‘part time’ means.

    5. Find and copy a phrase from the text which shows what Alan enjoyed doing as a child.

    6. Explain why Alan’s teachers thought that he was special.

    7. How did the Germans turn their messages into code?

    8. Why do you think Alan created ‘the bombe’ machine so quickly?

  • Alan Turing

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    Answers 1. Which of these is not a member of Alan Turing’s family? Tick one.

    Ethel Albert Julius

    John

    2. Number the events below to show the order in which they happened during Alan’s life. The first one has been done for you.

    Alan joined Sherborne School.

    Alan began to work at Bletchley Park. Alan was awarded an OBE for his wartime services. Alan could understand the works of Einstein.

    Alan was born in London.

    3. Where did Alan and his brother stay while his parents were in India? Alan and his brother stayed with friends of the family.

    4. …had been working part time at Bletchley Park. Explain what you think ‘part time’ means.

    Pupils’ own responses, such as: I think that part-time means that you work there but only on a few days of the week.

    5. Find and copy a phrase from the text which shows what Alan enjoyed doing as a child.

    ‘a boy who enjoyed puzzles and challenges’

    6. Explain why Alan’s teachers thought that he was special. Pupils’ own responses, such as: Alan’s teachers thought that he was special because he was very clever for his age and he could understand ideas far harder than a child of his age usually could.

    7. How did the Germans turn their messages into code? Pupils’ own responses, such as: The Germans turned their messages into code by replacing one letter with another lots of times.

    8. Why do you think Alan created ‘the bombe’ machine so quickly?

    Pupils’ own responses, such as: I think Alan created ‘the bombe’ machine so quickly because he was incredibly clever and it didn’t take him long to figure out how to improve the Enigma machine.

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    Alan Turing Alan Turing was an English computer scientist, mathematician and cryptanalyst. He is thought to be one of the inventors of modern computing and he is best known for his important role in cracking German codes during the Second World War.

    Early Life Alan Mathison Turing was born on 23rd June, 1912 in Maida Vale, London. His father, Julius, worked for the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ethel, was the daughter of the chief engineer of the Madras Railway in southern India. Due to Julius’s job, Julius and Ethel spent a vast amount of time travelling between their homes in Hastings (in England) and India. Wishing for their children to be brought up in Britain, Julius and Ethel made the decision that Alan and his older brother, John, would not travel to India with them. Instead, while they were in India, the boys would stay with friends of the family.

    Childhood Genius From a very early age, Alan began to show signs of his intelligence, and stories about his childhood clearly show a boy who enjoyed puzzles and challenges. One story tells that Alan traced the path of flying bees, in order to work out where their hive was and find honey for his family.

    Alan’s intelligence was also recognised by his teachers. At the age of 13, Alan joined Sherborne School: a boarding school in the county of Dorset. Alan was so determined to attend school on his first day at Sherborne that he rode his bicycle for over 60 miles and slept overnight at an inn, all without any help from an adult.

    It was while at Sherborne School that Alan’s ability in mathematics and science became clear. Alan was able to solve problems and understand theories far beyond those expected for a child of his age. At only 16 years of age, Alan was able to understand the work of Albert Einstein.

    Bletchley Park Alan was 27 years of age at the start of the Second World War, and had been working part time at Bletchley Park with the

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    Alan Turing

    Government Code and Cypher School, known as the GC&CS. Bletchley Park was a stately home at which all codebreakers worked during the war.

    During the war, the Germans believed that encrypting their messages would stop their enemies from reading them. The Germans used a clever system which involved replacing one letter with another several times. By keeping a log of what changes had been made (called a key), German soldiers could still read the original message, even though the final outcome did not appear to make any sense.

    However, a machine called the Enigma had been invented by Polish codebreakers during the First World War. In 1939, the Polish codebreakers shared their machine with British and French codebreakers. The Enigma machine tried to change the final outcome back into the original message that was sent. This would help Britain and France to learn the Germans’ secrets and outsmart them in the war.

    Working alongside senior codebreaker Dilly Knox, Alan and a team of cryptanalysts tried to use the Enigma machine to break the German code. Within weeks of starting work at Bletchley Park, Alan had created a new machine – ‘the bombe’ – which was far better at cracking codes than the Enigma machine had been. Alan’s new ma

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